State of the Climate

President Obama came out strong for climate action in his final SOTU last night. Here’s how the climate fared in his seven previous such speeches.

“Look, if anybody still wants to dispute the science around climate change, have at it. You’ll be pretty lonely, because you’ll be debating our military, most of America’s business leaders, the majority of the American people, almost the entire scientific community, and 200 nations around the world who agree it’s a problem and intend to solve it.”

It was pretty clear from President Obama’s State of the Union Address last night that the man wants his fight against climate change to be part of his legacy. In his eighth and final such speech, the president presented a hopeful vision for the country beyond his time in office—including redoubling our efforts to leave a sustainable planet for generations to come.

Without getting into too many specifics, Obama highlighted the need to move away from dirty fossil fuels, revamp the way the government manages oil and coal leases on public lands, and transition to clean energy. “Even if the planet wasn’t at stake, even if 2014 wasn’t the warmest year on record — until 2015 turned out even hotter — why would we want to pass up the chance for American businesses to produce and sell the energy of the future?” the president asked.

In the above video, Climate Desk takes a look at each and every climate promise President Obama made in his seven other SOTUs, and reminds us how they turned out. As you can see, making climate progress over the past eight years hasn’t been easy, but Obama has some big successes under his belt, including the recent international deal at COP21 and the nation’s new Clean Power Plan. Here’s hoping the next prez keeps up the good work.

This article was originally published on onEarth, which is no longer in publication. onEarth was founded in 1979 as the Amicus Journal, an independent magazine of thought and opinion on the environment. All opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of NRDC. This article is available for online republication by news media outlets or nonprofits under these conditions: The writer(s) must be credited with a byline; you must note prominently that the article was originally published by and link to the original; the article cannot be edited (beyond simple things such grammar); you can’t resell the article in any form or grant republishing rights to other outlets; you can’t republish our material wholesale or automatically—you need to select articles individually; you can’t republish the photos or graphics on our site without specific permission; you should drop us a note to let us know when you’ve used one of our articles.

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